Have you seen The Fault In Our Stars? I had heard so many things about it and I swear everyone I talked to told me they came out crying. Not just crying though, but a sob. A sob that shakes you to the core and makes you leak so many fluids you’re afraid you’ll drown. It was one of those movies. I avoided it for as long as I could but last night, I finally watched it. Part of me hoped to cry since I haven’t really been able to cry since starting Paxil. Sure tears will leak occasionally but that’s not the type of cry that leaves you feeling satisfied. You know those cries when you’re sitting on the ground, shaking so hard, spouting so many liquids you give Niagara falls a run for its money? They hurt so bad but they feel so good. I loved having those cries every once in a while because they relieved so much and I could feel. Pain demands to be felt and boy it felt so good. It was in those moments when I was reminded that I was human and it was a beautiful thing. Having that taken away from me has been difficult. There have been so many moments when I want to cry but simply can’t and it only makes me feel worse but the thing is, I don’t actually feel. I don’t know what’s worse, wanting to feel or not being able to feel.
The Paxil has been working wonders for me. The anxiety attacks don’t really come anymore and are getting easier to handle, I feel more than I did before and I see beauty around me. Life doesn’t look like a meaningless void as often anymore. I didn’t realize that my feelings and emotions were dulled though. I hadn’t realized that there had been something missing. It was like I was half human, feeling half the amount I should be but I didn’t know because I was just glad I didn’t feel nothing anymore. I’m sure with time, the half will become a full once again. I have always grown up protecting myself and not letting myself feel. The minute I felt pain, I would push it down and avoid it. I wouldn’t allow myself to feel anything but joy and all things positive because I didn’t want to appear weak. I took my emotions for granted. They are a part of what makes us human even if they’re painful. Pain is awful in the moment, but man do they shape us. On the other side of the storm, we see a rainbow that’s more beautiful than anything we’ve seen in our lives. The sky is more blue, the trees more green and the bird’s songs are something we could listen to forever. The pain and beauty in our lives go hand in hand. Once we experience pain, the beauty becomes more beautiful. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t beautiful before, we just didn’t look as hard as we do after the pain. Pain opens our eyes to the beauty around us while the beauty waits to be seen. It waits to dazzle you and fill you with this joy you couldn’t have felt without the intense pain. We don’t know joy until we know pain. If we were happy our whole lives, would we really know we were happy? There would be nothing to compare it to. With each storm we pass through, the rainbows get more and more beautiful, the sky becomes more blue, the trees more green, the songs sweeter. Suddenly, storms don’t look so scary anymore because we know what’s on the other side: beauty. Feeling is strength.
In the middle of The Fault In Our Stars, I paused the movie to chat with my friend next to me. Suddenly, tears began leaking from my eyes and I was caught off guard. Nothing sad had happened yet, but here I was beginning to cry. It wasn’t like the other times tears had fallen from my eyes, I felt my body begin to shake that familiar shake that comes from the heart wrenching sobs and was so confused. Why was I crying? I apologized countless times while he smiled and wiped my tears away. When we went back to the movie, the tears kept leaking and I felt my nose begin to join the party. Once the sad things began happening in the movie, I was gone. The tears wouldn’t stop and I let my body begin to shake. It felt like I was riding a bike again for the first time in years. At first, it’s shaky and you’re not quite sure you can balance and the ground seems so far, but then your feet catch the pedals and your body just knows. It knows how to push the pedals in such a way that spins the wheels and propels you forward. Suddenly, you’re riding and it’s as if you’ve never forgotten. There’s still the fear of falling but the wind feels so good in your hair that you feel invincible. When the movie ended, my feet were still searching for the pedals and when I sat up, they found them. It was like a dam inside of me broke and suddenly emotion after emotion came flooding through my body. I stood there, covering my eyes and letting the tears fall. I let myself weep, shake, sob and stutter over every apology.
I had never felt more alive.
I felt the heartbreaks I should have felt the last couple weeks, I felt excitement for the future, I felt fear for the rest of the school year, I felt thrilled that I was feeling, I felt confused that I was crying so hard, I felt exhausted for sobbing the way I was, I felt embarrassed for having a friend there to witness me in such a state, I felt everything. I felt alive. I felt human. Everything hit me in full and it felt great. I welcomed the pain with open arms and held it tight. It was an old friend I had taken for granted and I let every part of me embrace the pain. I welcomed the excitement, the joy, the fear, the confusion with even wider arms. They were old friends I hadn’t seen in weeks and it felt good to be reunited. It’s weird to be excited to feel so much, especially the pain. When you stop feeling, you stop feeling human. I didn’t realize that I had been walking around half human clinging desperately to moments that gave me feelings to the full instead of the half I was left with. After I had sobbed for maybe an hour straight, I began laughing and waited for more waves to hit me with excitement. When it didn’t come, I stood up, wiped everything off my face and smiled. I began talking about being human, being able to feel fully and the peace that came with all of it. I saw him begin to cry too and felt my eyes leak all over again. Watching someone else feel what I was feeling was beautiful. God was sitting right there with the both of us, reminding us of our human condition and how beautiful it was. It doesn’t look beautiful all the time with wars, poverty, and all the injustices but there is beauty tucked in pockets of humanity, inside every individual. We can see it if only we are patient enough to look past the masks the world has placed on us.
I woke up today, puffy eyed and smiling. I felt everything all at once and it felt amazing. It was like seeing for the first time. The sky has never been more blue, the trees have never been so green and the birds have never sung this loud. What a privilege that I can experience the beauty of creation. I could see life happening again and could feel the desire in me to participate. So I did. I jumped in with both feet, eyes wide open, arms stretched out and a smile on my face. I am participating. Even if it’s just for today or this hour. I’m participating in life and it feels good.